Casey Cope & Big Soda Join Forces For One Of The Best Tracks Of The Year AND Its Spongebob Inspired Visual

When an artist hit my inbox with a visual he described as Spongebob-esq (RIP Stephen Hillenburg) with lyrics centered around stress and paralysis, I knew I was in for a treat. This October, Casey Cope and Big Soda joined forces to create the visual to What I Learned In Boating School Is; a track that ranks in my top 50 of the year. Why? It features Big Soda’s booming, yet … Continue reading Casey Cope & Big Soda Join Forces For One Of The Best Tracks Of The Year AND Its Spongebob Inspired Visual

James Gardin Crafts Theme Song For Latest Tommy Hilfiger Collab

ILLECT signee James Gardin has been dropping monumental hits this year. From May’s Complaining to July’s Groove – he has perfected the art of fusing funk, soul, pop, and hip hop. All of his hard work has paid off in a HUGE way. ICONIC, his latest track with Terem, was selected as the theme song for Tommy Hilfiger’s latest  collaboration with Lewis Hamilton. James’ music has now reached a totally new audience. The … Continue reading James Gardin Crafts Theme Song For Latest Tommy Hilfiger Collab

Illect Recordings’ Sundance Steps Out On His Own With Debut Single ‘The Last Sunrise’

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. Illect Recordings is one of the best independent hip hop labels in the country. Not only do they host dope music, but often put out cassettes, CDs, and vinyl for their drops. Another gem has come out of the camp – this time from Sundance. The multi-faceted, genre-bending producer has worked with a handful of fellow Illect … Continue reading Illect Recordings’ Sundance Steps Out On His Own With Debut Single ‘The Last Sunrise’

Alabama’s Hip Hop Savior, K1NG ELJAY, Drops His Most Focused Project Yet With ‘K1NG’

If there is one project you need to hear this year, it’s K1NG ELJAY’s latest and greatest, K1NG. Although the title may read as braggadocios, K1NG is a declaration of the throne we can all hail, the endeavors we can all accomplish. His goal remains the same, ‘to make music you can feel.’ If you can’t feel his heart, soul, and dedication to the culture – … Continue reading Alabama’s Hip Hop Savior, K1NG ELJAY, Drops His Most Focused Project Yet With ‘K1NG’

Pigeons & Planes’ Freestyle Winner K1NG ELJAY Showcases His Production Chops On Instrumental Project ‘ROYALTY: The Common Tape’

Beat tapes are my weakness. I listen to a lot of hip hop, but rarely do I find an instrumental project that I really fuck with. When I do find that needle in the haystack, I play it obsessively throughout the coming weeks, and revisit it over the course of the year. K1NG ELJAY’s latest project, ROYALTY: The Common Tape, is a breath of fresh air. It … Continue reading Pigeons & Planes’ Freestyle Winner K1NG ELJAY Showcases His Production Chops On Instrumental Project ‘ROYALTY: The Common Tape’

Keenan Kilgore’s New Album ‘SEPTEMBER’ Shows Beauty Has No Bounds

Instrumental albums make the world go round. FACTS. When I get one as a submission, my day instantly becomes better. Music is the soundtrack to our lives, and hearing something that connects you to an artist you’ve never met is one of the best feelings in the world. Keenan Kilgore’s new LP SEPTEMBER captures me at this very moment. Why? His press release says it all: “SEPTEMBER  reinforces … Continue reading Keenan Kilgore’s New Album ‘SEPTEMBER’ Shows Beauty Has No Bounds

BOSTON’S ED BALLOON PUTS THE “ALTERNATIVE” IN ALTERNATIVE R&B ON HIS INNOVATIVE AND INSIGHTFUL EP “FLOURISH”

The sounds of Alternative R&B continuing to break new ground (truly putting the “Alternative” in Alternative R&B), have allowed artists like Boston’s own Ed Balloon to flourish and innovate, as he does on the fantastically forward-thinking EP Flourish released on Deathbomb Arc. Ed carries the raw vocal talent of a vintage gospel singer, and applies that talent to varied instrumentals that take equal cues from … Continue reading BOSTON’S ED BALLOON PUTS THE “ALTERNATIVE” IN ALTERNATIVE R&B ON HIS INNOVATIVE AND INSIGHTFUL EP “FLOURISH”

INLAND EMPIRE PRODUCER ITAL SANTOS RELEASES AN INSTRUMENTAL ODYSSEY WITH NEW PROJECT “REFLECTIONS.”

The West Coast has consistently been a gold mine for instrumental hip hop over the past couple decades and Inland Empire, California resident Ital Santos has now arrived to claim his own status as an instrumental auteur with his 28 track odyssey Reflections. Santos’ attention to the value of a great loop warrants comparisons to many of the beat-crafters on Stones Throw Records, especially on … Continue reading INLAND EMPIRE PRODUCER ITAL SANTOS RELEASES AN INSTRUMENTAL ODYSSEY WITH NEW PROJECT “REFLECTIONS.”

ENIGMATIC MC JOSH JENKINS MAKES HIS DEBUT WITH CHARGED SINGLE “CROWN”

The value that platforms like Soundcloud and Bandcamp have given to independent artists cannot be understated, its detachment from industry politics allows music to speak for itself transcending image, marketing, or timing. This is evident in the sudden release of what appears to be Wisconsin MC Josh Jenkins’ debut single Crown. A charged single addressing systematic racial inequality over production from Austinfig that bubbles under … Continue reading ENIGMATIC MC JOSH JENKINS MAKES HIS DEBUT WITH CHARGED SINGLE “CROWN”

NY RAPPER HOOKZ MURDOCK PROVES HIMSELF TO BE A HIP-HOP HERO ON NEW PROJECT “THE ADVENTURES OF…”

Since Ghostface Killah first called himself Tony Starks (along with naming his classic debut Ironman), and MF DOOM donned the metal mask, some of rap’s greatest characters have taken great influence from the world of comic books, and with his ambitious project The Adventures of…, New York MC Hookz Murdock becomes a hip-hop hero himself. The project is described as an audio-graphic novel, and it … Continue reading NY RAPPER HOOKZ MURDOCK PROVES HIMSELF TO BE A HIP-HOP HERO ON NEW PROJECT “THE ADVENTURES OF…”

LA PRODUCER SAMIYAM PROVES HIS STATUS AS AN INSTRUMENTAL AUTEUR ON “PIZZA PARTY” PROJECT

As is to be expected from a producer with ties to Brainfeeder and Stones Throw Records, LA producer Samiyam can always be depended on for offering forward-thinking production. This continues to be the case on his latest project Pizza Party, which stands at a brisk 23 minutes in length but does not waste a second of that time. Samiyam’s trademark wonky production, with unpredictable and … Continue reading LA PRODUCER SAMIYAM PROVES HIS STATUS AS AN INSTRUMENTAL AUTEUR ON “PIZZA PARTY” PROJECT

NY QUARTET PANDA CITY BRINGS BARS AND GROOVES IN EQUAL MEASURE ON THEIR EP “BAD BLOCKS”

The musical melting pot that is New York City has always housed connections between rap, jazz, and punk, from the Beastie Boys to Show Me the Body, and NYC quartet Panda City have brought their own intriguing approach to this stylistic intersection with their EP Bad Blocks, backing intensely-delivered, lyrically-sharp verses with the type of controlled chaos seen in jazz and hardcore punk in equal … Continue reading NY QUARTET PANDA CITY BRINGS BARS AND GROOVES IN EQUAL MEASURE ON THEIR EP “BAD BLOCKS”

FAT Fly Freddie Lee Shows His Musicianship In New EP “3 Piece & A Biscuit”

The current state of the music world has lead to a phenomenon of R&B artists who carry themselves like rappers as much as they do singers (ranging from DRAM to Anderson Paak). FAT Fly Freddie Lee has entered this scene with a sound all of his own, managing to fit this approach and recalling vintage but never dated sounds of Rick James and Zapp on … Continue reading FAT Fly Freddie Lee Shows His Musicianship In New EP “3 Piece & A Biscuit”

No Holds Back NY MC Theravada Drops A Remarkable New Project “Xen Griffey” (Review)

Photo credit (above): @zoomoguy It is safe to say that NY hip-hop has been going through something of an experimental renaissance lately. Though some may continue to argue that New York has lost mainstream relevance, it is now populated by numerous underground, idiosyncratic MCs who proudly wouldn’t be within spitting distance of a Billboard chart in any decade. Artists like Wiki, MIKE, and Your Old Droog … Continue reading No Holds Back NY MC Theravada Drops A Remarkable New Project “Xen Griffey” (Review)

German Producer Slim The Chemist Drops An Impressive Multi-Faceted EP “Perspective” (Review)

The release of DJ Shadow’s Endtroducing in 1996, in tandem with projects from J Dilla, Nujabes, and Madlib, (amongst others in the 2000s) gave rise to the rap instrumental auteur, beat-crafters who cultivated atmospheres with their productions that stand alone from an MC’s verses. This is the environment in which a producer like Slim The Chemist thrives, who with little more than an MPC and … Continue reading German Producer Slim The Chemist Drops An Impressive Multi-Faceted EP “Perspective” (Review)

Hanakatoba Puts a House Spin on SZA’s Album Cut “The Weekend”

It’s been quite some time since we’ve covered the artist formerly known as roman flwrs. The artist + producer has newly dubbed himself Hanakatoba, and I’m a huge fan of the switch. *Fun fact, hanakotoba is the Japanese form of the language of flowers.” Along with the change of moniker is a change of pace in his music. SZA’s CTRL is one of the best … Continue reading Hanakatoba Puts a House Spin on SZA’s Album Cut “The Weekend”

Cory Grindberg Steps Into The Spotlight On His Debut Instrumental EP ‘Uma’

There are hundreds of thousands of instrumental EP’s on SoundCloud. If you lived to be 200, you still wouldn’t have time to listen to them all, as new bodies of work are uploaded every day. For fans of the genre, I’ve always wondered – what makes you listen to one versus the other? It’s not often that you find a tape that caters to a … Continue reading Cory Grindberg Steps Into The Spotlight On His Debut Instrumental EP ‘Uma’

New Jersey’s Deal The Villain Took Me Back To the 90’s With His New Album ‘Beards, Beats, and Kicks’

This past weekend I set a very strict goal for myself: I had to listen to at least 3 90’s hip hop albums a day. Thanks to rateyourmusic.com and Apple Music, I did just that. My vinyl collection is full of classics from that era, so I also decided to give The Low End Theory, Illmatic, and Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik a spin. Although Nas put us smack dab … Continue reading New Jersey’s Deal The Villain Took Me Back To the 90’s With His New Album ‘Beards, Beats, and Kicks’